The Yankees frustrating season can still finish strong with just a few post-deadline moves
The July 31 non-waiver trade deadline came and went with very little movement by the Yankees in spite of significant holes to fill if they desire to play into October.
However, all is not yet lost.
Yes, the team currently sits fourth in the AL East at 10.5 games behind the Boston Red Sox and a is a full six games out of a wild-card spot with New York having lost seven of its last 10 games.
However, There is still time for the Bombers to make some changes and become a playoff contender. Following is a look at a few moves that would give the Yanks a chance to make a late-season run.
Michael Young is a lifetime .300 hitter who can play multiple positions
Even though Young has been playing third base for the Phillies, what he brings to any manager is the flexibility to play multiple spots in the field. He began his career as a second baseman, played several seasons as the Texas Rangers shortstop and has at least 450 games under his belt at third.
He would provide the Yankees with valuable depth at all three of those positions, but his ability in the field is only outweighed by what he can do at the plate.
Young is a lifetime .300 hitter who hasn't hit lower than .270 in 11 years. In 14 seasons, he has driven in 90 or more runs as well as scored 90 or more runs six times each and led the league twice in hits, most recently in 2011.
It would appear that the Yankees' woes at third base have been temporarily alleviated with the return of Alex Rodriguez, but they continue to rank near the bottom of MLB (27th to be exact) in production at first base, hitting just .227 from that corner of the infield.
Young certainly would give the Yankees someone who could spell "A-Rod" at third or start at first base with either no drop-off or an improvement in production.
While GM Brian Cashman's attempts to acquire Young fell short at the deadline, a waiver wire deal this month is not out of the question and would be well worth the Yankees' efforts.
Carlos Ruiz would give the Yankees a legitimate offensive threat from the catching position.
Chris Stewart has given the Yankees solid play behind the plate for the majority of the season.
When the season opened, Francisco Cervelli was handed most of the starts as the team's backstop, but suffered a fractured right hand late in April followed by a stress reaction in his elbow during his rehab.
Any further attempts to come back for Cervelli went for naught when he received a 50-game suspension this week as one of 13 players identified by MLB who were associated with the usage of performance-enhancing drugs.
Unfortunately for the Yankees, neither Stewart nor his backup Austin Romine has provided any semblance of offense in the Bombers' lineup.
Stewart is batting .229 (including .148 for July) while Romine recently raised his average to a mere .215.
The fact that Ruiz, a career .274 hitter, would represent an improvement at the plate goes without saying.
As with Michael Young, the Yankees were unable to put together a deal for Ruiz at the deadline, but like Young, the Yankees may have an opportunity to acquire the catcher through the waiver wire, according to Nick Cafardo of The Boston Globe.
It certainly couldn't hurt to try.
It may be a stretch, but given the sudden thinning of the Yankees pitching ranks, Lincecum could make for a good waiver wire pickup.
For most of 2013, the one area where the New York Yankees seemingly had depth was starting pitching.
With Michael Pineda working his way back after last year's labrum surgery, and Ivan Nova and David Phelps just waiting in the wings for opportunities to return to the rotation, manager Joe Girardi appeared to have a wealth of options as his starting pitchers.
It seems all that has changed in a blink of an eye.
Yankees ace CC Sabathia has been anything but the dependable workhorse he showed in past seasons with a 9-10 record and a 4.78 ERA.
Since May his ERA is 5.95.
Starter Phil Hughes has been consistent in his inconsistency, going 4-10 with a 4.87 ERA and he has already yielded 20 home runs in 2013.
Meanwhile, Andy Pettitte is showing signs of his age at 7-9 and a 4.71 ERA.
Phelps went on the DL at the beginning of July with a strained forearm and recently suffered a setback with an additional strain, and Pineda has been shut down temporarily after feeling stiffness in his shoulder.
Only Nova (5-4, 3.08) and Hiroki Kuroda (10-7, 2.45) have maintained high-performance levels during this season of troubles.
As Nick Cafardo of The Boston Globe reports:
Giants righty Tim Lincecum could be a big fish that goes in a waiver deal as some teams like him as a valuable bullpen piece down the stretch. The Giants weren’t offered anything good enough at the deadline, but given his $22MM salary and the fact he’s in the final year of his deal, the Giants may want to free themselves shortly.
Given the issues that the Yankees have in the rotation, it couldn't hurt to add a 29-year-old starter/reliever who holds two NL Cy Young awards to the roster for the final run in 2013.
Even though Lincecum's ERA currently stands at 4.43, the right-hander has allowed three or fewer runs (including a no-hitter on July 13) in five of his last six starts. It would appear he has righted his ship and now would be a good time to get him on the roster.
A lot could depend upon whether the Yankees are on the hurler's no-trade list. If so, would he be willing to waive it to go to New York?
The idea of getting Lincecum may be far-fetched to many, but if contractually possible, it represents an opportunity the Yankees should not pass up.
Placido Polanco would give the Yankees much needed infield depth.
With the ability to play second base, third base and shortstop, Placido Polanco could provide the Yankees with valuable depth to a depleted and under-performing infield.
The continued setbacks for future Cooperstown inductee Derek Jeter at shortstop, as well as the never-ending saga at third base in the Bronx, make a Polanco deal sensible.
Should the team not be able to acquire Michael Young, Polanco may be the next one they set their sights on.